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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 10 August 2009
I think the previous review is terribly unfair. Yes 'No Fond Return of Love' is not the most laugh out loud, funny of Pym's books (that accolade belongs to 'Jane and Prudence'. But it is a touching and sensitively drawn portrait of single intelligent women (who are no longer in the first flush of youth) living in post war London. If that makes it sound boring - it is not. It is a beautiful book showing a rarely depicted side of London. I would say reading it is akin to listening to a new and difficult album by your favourite group/artist. On first listening you are not sure about the departure from the 'old' sound. After a couple more plays - you wonder why you did not love it immediately - and it is now your favourite of their work. A book to be savoured.
Most recommended, but not for those with short attention spans - like the first reviewed you may be disappointed!
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on 5 September 2009
The utterly brilliant Miss Pym, as usual with her quiet, quietly devastating, devastatingly funny novels - sharp observation that still holds good, even so many years later. As anyone who has ever attended an academic conference will testify - nothing changes! Remember that these were written when the world was different - but human nature was much the same.
The woman was a genius.
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on 22 April 2012
I found this rather less engrossing than other Barbara Pym novels I have read. It was sadder, it was less funny, and above all, the various elements of the plot seemed, for the first half of the book, to fit rather loosely together and there was little sense of forward momentum as Pym switched the focus from one cast of characters to another.

That said, it was certainly enjoyable to read throughout - there is a quite unique narrative voice and narrative style at work - and as the novel entered its second half, it did all start to cohere, for me. The ending brings a quite unexpected - and also, I found, quite moving, plot turn - which one of the character likens to the ending of Mansfield Park. I could see exactly what Barbara Pym had in mind, as it is the novelist's prerogative to make something that has seemed quite out of the question for a very long time suddenly start to happen.

So, this is not where I would start reading Barbara Pym. And I would not agree with Shirley Hazzard, quoted on the front cover as saying it is one of her very best. But I would certainly recommend it to those who have enjoyed her other books.
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on 4 September 2015
This is very much my kind of story. It is quite low key inasmuch as there is only steady, but restrained, action. However the story succeeds in carrying one along. I suppose one could say it is dated because social conditions and sexual mores have changed so much in the last fifty years.
Nevertheless it still has much to say about relationships. There are also brilliant touches of humour and though some of the characters have aspects which are ridiculous, they are nevertheless dealt with in an ultimately kind manner.
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on 28 January 2014
I really like Barbara Pym's work, always subtly amusing and observational. Good price quick delivery will purchase more from this author
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on 11 November 2013
Definitely Pym at or near the the top of her game, while if it may be difficult to form a strong attachment to any of the characters..
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on 7 January 2011
This book was recommended to me by a friend who raves about Barbara Pymm. I read all the introductions which claim Barbara Pymm to be a great unsung female (feminist???) novelist. I am not sure I quite see where the rave reviews come from but, that having been said, I found the book delightful and the characters incredibly well drawn and likeable. It is a novel of manners and of characterisation and has only a very nominal (and somewhat implausible) story line so, if that is what you enjoy, this is definitely a book for you. I also found it a very female book in a slightly quaint and nostlagic way which occasionally grated.

I will go on to read more of her works as I wonder if it may be me who had the wrong kind of expectations.
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on 15 January 2013
I am a Barbara Pym fan. This book concerns a female stalker,Dulcie, and her associate,Violet, who stalk a 'good looking' chap whose name begins with 'Ay'. He's good at quoting poetry, but I found him to be a rather vain and empty chap. The drinks consumed, are, as usual, sherry(for gatherings), gin( to be taken everywhere to be consumed in one's room) and Ovaltine(to put one to sleep). The slightly plain woman hunts down her man and gets him. It's true good looking men often marry plain women. Pym explains how and why. They want security. The plain women want them.
Loved it.
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on 6 December 2010
I have been reading Barbara Pym since I discovered her by accident when I picked up one of her books left behind by someone else on a cruise. I have since bought almost every one of her books and never been disappointed. This writer comes from an age of genteel manners and old fashioned values. However, she is never boring and her observations of people and their behavior continue to amuse me. She is quite unique and someone I would recommend to anyone wanting a good, gossipy read with a good serving of humour. I have passed her books on to many of my friends and each one of them has enjoyed them as much as I have.
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on 2 January 2015
This title belongs to Pym's earlier period, before her 'wilderness years' when no publisher would take her work. Fortunately, the advocacy of Lord David Cecil and Philip Larkin got her back into the world of published writers in the late seventies, and she went on to publish several later books, and after her death several very good novels appeared posthumously. Like all her books, it is unpretentious but witty, perceptive and in places funny. She is in my opinion the best female novelist of the twentieth century, and it is good that Virago has republished all her titles in time for the centenary of her birth in 2013.
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